Man who livestreamed crashing into police car stole ambulance in 2017
DETROIT (FOX 2) - A man taken into police custody after live streaming intentionally crashing into a police car Friday morning was the same man who stole an ambulance a few years ago.
A 23-year-old man, identified as Eric Preston, went on Facebook Live around 2:30 a.m. Friday for 40 minutes and even hitting a police car with his red pickup truck.
RELATED: Man livestreams intentionally crashing into Detroit police car, taken into custody
In the video, he's seen running red lights, weaving in and out of traffic while reaching close to 100 mph on the speedometer and even crossing over the centerline, all while mocking police.
The entire time, he was cool, calm and collected as he live-streamed. He even encouraged his Facebook followers to watch along. They were, and many were chiming in asking him to stop, saying he was going to die if didn't. Then he made a quick U-turn and crashed into a patrol car near the intersection of East Jefferson and East Lawn.
Two officers, one a 19-year male veteran in the department and a female officer who has been serving for just over a year, were taken to the hospital with knee pain. They have both been treated.
Police say Preston was taken into custody. The Macomb County Prosecutor's Office authorized one count of fourth-degree fleeing the police in Warren. Detroit charges are still pending, but Detroit Police Chief James Craig said it could be assault of a police officer.
The Detroit Police Department held a press conference to update the situation:
During the update, Chief Craig said the driver suffers from mental illness.
"It could've been a tragic situation. ... It is a problem -- the system's broken, you've heard me say it in the past," he said.
Chief Craig also noted that while the suspect was streaming live on Facebook, there's one thing that particularly troubled him.
"There were some individuals that were encouraging him to continue his acts. There were others, and I don't know who was the majority - I would hope there were more good people trying to tell him to stop, but there were some literally encouraging him to continue what he was doing," he siad.
Sources say he's the same man who stole an ambulance outside a Macomb County Hospital in October of 2017.
RELATED: Man in stolen ambulance leads police on chase through Mt. Clemens: video
On Oct. 7, 2017, MedStar workers had entered the hospital to drop off a patient and left the ambulance parked just outside. Police say Preston got inside the ambulance and drove off. A brief chase ensued and at one point, the suspect drove off the road and down a grassy hill.
"The subject refused to get out of the ambulance where they had to break a window and pull him out of the vehicle and take him into custody," Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said in 2017.
No one was injured. He was charged with one felony count of Unlawful Driving Away of an Automobile.